Four Just Stop Oil supporters were acquitted of obstruction of the highway on Monday 27 November, after a judge declared they had a lawful excuse for their actions. Yet somehow, the corporate media has failed to report the story.
Just Stop Oil: blocking Central London
The four Just Stop Oil supporters had taken part in a roadblock at Piccadilly on 26 October 2022 to demand that the government halt all licensing and consents for the development of any new fossil fuel projects in the UK. As Just Stop Oil previously wrote:
16 Just Stop Oil supporters walked onto Piccadilly near Green Park Tube station and disrupted traffic by sitting in the road with banners. Some supporters have glued onto the tarmac.
Linda Ahtiainen, a recent graduate from Ruokolahti, Finland said:
“I am taking action with Just Stop Oil because the government’s plan to approve over a 100 new oil and gas projects is completely irresponsible in the face of the climate crisis. I hope that people will understand the severity of the situation we are facing. New oil and gas projects are not just unnecessary, but will destroy everything we depend upon and all we hold dear. This campaign of civil resistance is not about any individual or groups of people but about ensuring the survival of humanity.”
Clara O’Callahan, Ella-Rose Paez, Julia Redman, and Bethon Roberts appeared before Judge Bone at Stratford Magistrates Court on 27 November, accused of willful obstruction of the highway in relation to peacefully blocking Piccadilly near Green Park Tube station last October.
Finding no evidence of ‘significant disruption’ Judge Bone delivered a not-guilty verdict. Addressing the defendants, the judge commented that the ‘issues’ being protested about were of high importance to the public.
I took action with Just Stop Oil a year ago to peacefully protest the government’s genocidal actions in granting more licences. Regardless of the outcome of this trial, the truth is clear – new oil and gas is genocide. In the last year, thousands have died in climate-related extreme weather events. How many more people will be forced to suffer in the next year, and the next? When politics is broken, I believe it is a moral obligation to continue in civil resistance against a genocidal government.
Also acquitted, Redman commented:
I am 72 and have 7 grandchildren. I have never had to face threats to life, but as the climate catastrophe unfolds I am haunted knowing they shall face droughts, wildfires, floods, famine, storms, war and may be forced to flee their homes as the climate catastrophe unfolds. I want to be able to tell my grandchildren that I did everything I could to prevent this catastrophe.
This not guilty verdict follows the acquittal earlier in November of nine other Just Stop Oil supporters in relation to the same roadblock. On 22 November, Adrian Johnson, Sarah Ath, Rosie Bowyers, and Daniell Cole were also acquitted by Judge Bone at Stratford Magistrates court on the basis that a conviction would be disproportionate.
I have been brought to court today, but it is the real criminals who should be in the dock who are licensing and promoting new oil and gas. The Met police have been given overwhelming evidence of government crimes against humanity and of genocide yet still refuse to investigate them, while prosecuting ordinary people like myself.
The not guilty verdicts come as the UN has intervened over the case of Just Stop Oil protestors, Morgan Trowland and Marcus Dekker, currently serving the highest sentences seen in this country for nonviolent protest in modern times.
On Tuesday 21 November, a letter was made public from the UN to the UK government criticising the ‘severe’ sentences and warned that the new Public Order Act which came into force in July was inconsistent with international human rights law and is therefore undermining the civil society response to the climate crisis we desperately need, calling it a “direct attack on the right to the freedom of peaceful assembly”.
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